WAITE PARK, Minn. — After a dry run for her parents’ garage sale, Julie Braun was ready to take her business live. She is ready to help local home and business owners do an onerous task: Organize what could feel overwhelming.
Braun runs Smart Organizing Solutions, or SOS, a professional organizing business that offers help with clutter control, downsizing homes, estate management, garage sales, home staging, records management and consulting, among other services. The business has officially been in operation since June, Braun said.
“It’s a niche in St. Cloud that hasn’t been really tapped into,” she told the St. Cloud Times.
Braun previously owned a construction company, but after a divorce, she had to walk away from that business. She had several different jobs before opening SOS. A life coach told her she wouldn’t be content until she started her own business, she said.
Smart Organizing Solutions came to her in a dream.
“I woke up and wrote ‘home and business organization’ out of the blue,” Braun said. “And then I started researching it online and found out that it’s a bona fide profession: professional organizing.”
Her organization skills came from necessity, she said: For a time, she worked full-time for the city of Sauk Rapids, raised her children and did books for the construction company.
“I raised three kids and half the neighborhood,” Braun said. “… I had to be organized.”
Her daughter, Kelly Braun, helps with SOS as needed, and Julie said she hopes to eventually turn the business over to her.
It’s very satisfying to complete one room,” Kelly said.
She also enjoys finding treasures among the things she is helping organize or sort. If they are helping a client get rid of some of their belongings, they donate as much as they can, Julie said. Their business will also handle selling belongings online for customers.
For Julie, she appreciates the physical activity of her job. She was tired of sitting at a desk all day.
The work makes Kelly appreciate her own home, she said.
So far, many of her customers have been seniors, Julie said. It can be hard to have others go through your things, and for people who have memories of the Great Depression particularly, it can be difficult to get rid of things.
“When you’re working with seniors, you do everything you can to help them,” she said.
She has helped clients organize sewing rooms and garages, prepare for estate sales and done some work with a small business. Her role, Julie said, is to help clients who are in transition.
“Every situation, though, is unique,” Julie said. “I mean, you’re not gonna have a cookie cutter client.”
Depending on the project, Smart Organizing Solutions charges between $30-40 an hour.
“In my opinion, it’s much easier to organize someone else than yourself,” Julie said.